Christos Dikeakos (Canadian, b. 1946) is a senior Vancouver photographer whose work since the late 1960s has addressed the urban environment, specifically Vancouver’s, and our understanding of history. The works on display are in the University Art Collection at the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery and are from Sites and Place Names: Vancouver, an ongoing series he produced between 1991 and 1994 that evolved during research into various neighbourhoods of Vancouver.
These particular panoramic photographs depict sites that are in proximity to the University of British Columbia and are viewed from a contemporary perspective, for the most part as we see them today. The sheet of glass that is placed over them has words sandblasted in English and Musqueam that convey how these sites were described and understood by the Musqueam First Nation prior to and during European settlement. This spare but compelling juxtaposition emphasizes the distance between the past and present, reveals what is not immediately visible when we look at our everyday surroundings, proposes that our understanding of place must shift, and underscores the fact that Musqueam land was never ceded to the colonial governments. Dikeakos puts into question the assumption that we inhabit a place that is non-Aboriginal; the fact that official events at UBC are now acknowledged as taking place on unceded Musqueam territory provokes one to think about these sites in new ways and to appreciate the complex histories and land uses that are embedded within such seemingly benign images.
Christos Dikeakos has been exhibiting since 1969 and has participated in solo and group shows across Canada and the USA. His work is on view in the exhibition Christos Dikeakos: Nature Morte at the Kelowna Art Gallery (June 21-October 5, 2014). Dikeakos is represented by Catriona Jeffries Gallery, Vancouver.
This presentation is a collaboration between the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery and the Walter C. Koerner Library at the University of British Columbia, and is made possible with the generous support of the Audain Foundation. Art in the Library offers new perspectives on contemporary art by presenting art that questions our current perceptions about the world around us.
Whotsasamat, Cool Damp Place (2nd Version), from the series Sites and Places Names: Vancouver, 1992
c-print with etched glass and metal
Collection of the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery